America in 2016: Dropping All Pretense of Democracy

November 8, 2016, brought a wretched conclusion to the latest attempt by citizens of the United States to "elect" a new leader. The final months of the election (if it actually can be given that formal designation) offered a cutthroat battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a pair of nasty characters, and was, in the sum of all its hideous elements, both darkly comic and thoroughly repugnant, establishing an all-time low of public discourse that was perversely breathtaking, even by American standards.

Week after week after week, the two contenders exchanged idle threats, slandered each other, and took great pains to shun any serious discussion of the pressing matters that usually would be regarded as being pertinent and essential to making a straightforward choice of leadership. In the end, however, they succeeded in getting away with it, mainly because the American people put up only token resistance, obligingly gulping down the rancorous mess as quickly as it was dished out to them.

When the crude exhibition was over and the votes were tallied up, Donald Trump was the winner and Hillary Clinton was the loser, but the outcome carried less import than the dismal process by which that outcome was achieved. It was a gross offense from beginning to end, loaded with bilge, bluster, and bombast, and entirely devoid of rational debate. It delivered a sharp injury to the sensibilities of any citizen who dares to believe that hearing the straight truth is preferable to hearing idle falsehoods.

Casting a vote for President has become closely akin to wallowing in a bottomless pool of sickening filth. It constitutes a grim show for those who enjoy such diversions, and it serves the underhanded purposes of those who have control of things (and are bent on preserving their control), but can anyone honestly recommend it as a worthy example of how a nation should govern itself? It appears that America, in 2016, has chosen to give up and give in, sinking to the depths and dropping all pretense of democracy.